116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DAVENPORT — In 2006, Dave Loebsack unexpectedly defeated 30-year incumbent and moderate Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Leach to represent southeast Iowa.
Then in 2020 the pair, together, endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.
On Saturday, they campaigned together in Davenport for a Democrat they both hope will represent southeast Iowa in Congress — Christina Bohannan.
Bohannan is a state representative and law professor at the University of Iowa, which is also where Leach taught. She specializes in intellectual property law, the First Amendment and competition law.
Bohannan is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who is up for reelection for the first time after winning the seat by six votes in 2020.
Leach was known for voting across party lines while in office. A Congressional Quarterly study in 2005 found Leach voted with most members of his party at the lowest rate among House members at the time — 63 percent. He voted against invading Iraq, and he admonished the Republican congressional campaign arm for sending flyers in the 2006 campaign targeting Loebsack for his stance on gay marriage.
On Saturday, Leach said the country is "riddled with division" and said a person like Bohannan, who studies the law, would be well-qualified to serve in Congress, especially after Jan. 6, 2021.
Republicans have questioned Leach's GOP bonafides. In 2008, he broke with Republicans and endorsed Barack Obama, speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
In 2022, Leach said he changed his party registration to vote in the Democratic primary for the first time.
On the campaign trail, Bohannan has emphasized her upbringing, growing up in a trailer with orange shag carpet in Florida and her family struggling to get by when her father got sick and lost health insurance.
Loebsack, the congressman representing southeast Iowa until deciding not to run for reelection in 2020, said Bohannan's background was similar to his. Loebsack grew up in poverty, raised in Sioux City by a single parent.
"That impressed me," Loebsack said. "I just said, 'Christina, make sure you pound that as hard as you can because that's a big part of why you are the way you are, who you are today, and the people you're going to go fight for while you're in Washington, D.C.'"
Loebsack added: "I know that when she's in Congress, she's going to do a fabulous job. She's not going to lose track of her values, not going to lose track where she came from and what she stands for."
Bohannan said her pitch to voters in the final stretch before the midterms was that, if elected, she'd "fight for working people" and "put partisan politics aside and just focus on the people of this district."
"They represented collectively this district for more than 40 years," Bohannan said of Loebsack and Leach. "And during that time, both of them served with honor and integrity. They told the truth. And they put the people of this district before party politics or corporate donors. And that is the kind of representative that I will be."
For Bohannan, that means bringing down health care costs, tackling stubborn inflation and keeping Social Security and Medicare intact.
On inflation, Bohannan said she supported the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and that already there are permits for oil extraction on federal lands. But, she said, funding more renewable energy sources could also bring costs down.
"We already get more of our electricity from renewables than just about any other state. So that is a growth area for us, and I think that having funding that supports that will be great for Iowa," Bohannan said.
Miller-Meeks has said she supports more permitting on federal lands to release more domestic oil and calm gas prices. Miller-Meeks, a former director of the state's public health department, has also campaigned on adding more border patrol agents, being a check on the Biden administration, banning biological males from participating in girls sports and investigating COVID-19's origin.
In a statement, Iowa Republican Party chairman Jeff Kaufmann said, "We need Republican majorities in Washington to push back against Joe Biden and his disastrous policies. Iowans are over it."
Early voting is underway in Iowa. Election Day is Nov. 8.